Buying a domain and hosting
A domain is the name of your website like www.apple.com and hosting is where it lives. So the first thing you need is a place for your website to live and a good name. If your business is called an unusual or long name with a variable spelling this is not a good website name. People have to remember it and how to spell it. If you are a gardener working in Luton called Adam Biggleswickham then www.BiggleswickhamServices.co.uk is not a good domain name but www.GardensbyAdam.co.uk or www.GardenerinLuton.co.uk are. He chose the second one and gets lots of people that search for “Gardener in Luton” on Google.
So try for a good name and then see what is available. I suggest using a hosting company and buy your domain through them as you can get some good deals. I recommend Siteground and I have an affiliate link so please use that if you buy.
I recommend them because my own experience and industry surveys.
I had clients with a variety of hosting companies which were all pretty much the same. My own hosting company used to be great until it became part of the EIG family. Then one day a client came along that used Siteground. I could not believe the difference, helpful, co-operative, knowledgable and not working from a script designed to up sell! So the next client that asked for a recommendation I said Siteground. Again the contrast in customer service was amazing. The price was competitive.
Then I came across this http://www.codeinwp.com/blog/wordpress-hosting-survey-results/ impressive isnt it.
That was it, I was a convert
You can check through them if your choice of domain name is available. They then send you a reminder when it needs renewing.
I think it is a good idea for people to buy their own website and sort out their own hosting because they are in control. I also recommend that people use an email like Gmail or Hotmail. You can get emails to redirect to other emails. So when Adam is working he gets alerts from Gmail and can check them on his phone.
The next step is to build a website, I use a website builder called WordPress. It started life as a simple blogging platform but now it is much, much more. The structure is basically pages which are pretty static and posts which are more dynamic. It is important to have a website that looks good on phones, tablets and ordinary screens and WordPress handles all that. You can also select themes that reflect your business type author, photography, hotel, shop. There are over 8000 themes out there some free some paid.Then you can add things like an eShop, security, backup, testimonials, booking system. These are called plugins and again some are free some you pay for. You can group posts by tagging them so people could find all the posts you have made about a certain subject. My personal website based around my name has posts that are personal, business, my interests.
Some of my clients are so confident that after I have shown them how, they go off and change things, add things and I never hear from them again. Others are too busy (or intimidated) and will send me a newsletter and I will post for them. You can set up WordPress to autolink to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc so one blog post goes to many places. Still others just leave it, they have the website and that was all they needed.
Adam has a page that tells about him, where he went to college and what experience he has, another page with his phone number and a form for people to send him an email, another page describes what he can do like tree surgery, landscaping and garden design. He also has a large gallery of photos of the gardens he is most proud of and testimonials from some of his clients. Every season he makes a post about thing that need doing in the garden this season, he could do every month but he cant be bothered. When he got married he posted about that as he used some things he had grown to decorate the church. He also posted when he got an award for his roses at the local show.
That is a very simple website but it means he can put it on his business cards and have an email address. That is all most small business need.
And that is what I can do for you, please contact me and your business could be online this time next week.